October 29, 2023 - Home Worship

For the week of October 29 to November 4 – 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Prayer Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity. And that we may obtain what You promise, make us love what You command. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AmenFrom The Book of Common Prayer

Hymn #557 Blest Be the Tie that Binds

  1. Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;
    the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
  2. Before our Father's throne we pour our ardent prayers;
    our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
  3. We share each other's woes, our mutual burdens bear;
    and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
  4. When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain;
    but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord. 17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Children’s Time 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Children’s Message

We have been talking about love lately. You have pointed to ways we have felt loved and knowing that we are loved. We have talked about loving our neighbor and who are neighbor is.

Today, we are going to talk about what love can look like, because love is more than just snuggly feelings toward another person. Love is also an action; it is how we behave or act toward another person.

Paul tells us that love is patient and kind. It isn’t jealous, prideful, or rude. It isn’t selfish or spiteful. And, it is the only thing that lasts.

How can we point to ways we have seen love being patient? Maybe it took you longer than usual to get ready for church and your parents waited for you. How many times did your math teacher have to explain how to solve your math homework this week? It is in these investments of time we can see and feel love. I bet you can think of how someone has been kind to you this week, maybe held a door open for you or gave you part of their lunch? There are so many ways to show kindness and kindness is a type of love.

Paul also named things love isn’t. It isn’t jealous, prideful, or rude. It isn’t selfish or spiteful. These characteristics aren’t ones we should be displaying. And when we do, it is certain we aren’t being very loving.

And, it is the only thing that lasts. I’m sure that you have gotten some really cool gifts and been on some fun adventures, but what you remember the most are the ways the people you were with made you feel. It’s love that binds them to our hearts and minds and that is something we can lose.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlight: Withrow University College in Ghana.  If you were inspired by the presentation last week, talk to Ellen Withrow and Bill Bien about what you can do to support Withrow University College.  It is a sponsored mission of LUMC.  The presentation can be viewed on Facebook.

Offering prayer: God of unimaginable love, You have given us so much and asked so little. In the words of Jesus, we have been commanded to love You with our whole being, love our neighbors, and love ourselves. For that simple price, You have given us everything and promised to love us and not desert us. It is a covenant more generous than anyone could imagine, and yet how often we fail to keep the bargain. We love You when it is convenient and will not embarrass us before others. We pick and choose which neighbors we love, as we pick and choose when we will love ourselves. As we dedicate our gifts this morning to bringing acts of love, may we also resolve to better keep our side of Your covenant of love. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #314 In the Garden

  1. I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses,
    and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.

Refrain: And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

  1. He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
    and the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing. (Refrain)
  2. I'd stay in the garden with Him though the night around me be falling,
    but He bids me go; thru the voice of woe His voice to me is calling. (Refrain)

Scripture:  Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that He (Jesus) had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Message:    Pastor Becky

Have you ever held a new baby? Babies are spirit lifting creatures. They hold every possibility, just by being born, they speak to the miracles of God. There is nothing more soothing to me than holding a baby, rocking them to sleep. When the world becomes overwhelming, their preciousness and innocence is a balm.

The number one thing I miss the most from my last appointment are the children of the daycare. When things in my office would turn chaotic or stressed, I’d slip off to the baby room and rock a baby, and then I would be at peace.

The other thing you get to do, while rocking a baby, is you have the time and opportunity to look intently at their face. You get to study the little creases and dimples, the outline of their lips and possibly see a hint of a curl forming in the little hair. All of this done without any awkwardness or hesitation. You get to look at them with pure joy and love, hoping to get some glimpse of something familiar, something that would connect us in heart, something to remind me of one of our biological children – thus sealing our connection as undeniable. Hoping to see something of me. I know that sounds unreasonable, there is no reason, only hopeful expectation, they would look like me. But I was looking for something in common, so I would love them better because they reminded me of someone I already loved. It is easier to love someone you are already connected to, the familiar is what we crave and if a child from the daycare reminded me of one of our children all the better. I wanted to be able to say I deeply loved them, so my love would become action and everything I did in promoting and resourcing the daycare would be a reflection of that love.

It’s looking to love them as I loved God, as an extension of that love. These little ones were my neighbors and I needed to search their little faces to see our connection to each other.

Jesus responded to the lawyer with scripture, from Moses – the lawgiver and the prophet. First was to be our responsibility to God, which is to love God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Deuteronomy 6:5 and then with how that love should be lived out, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18.

The 1st and the 2nd commandments according to Jesus and He says they are comparable, interchangeable, they live in concert with one another. You can’t have one without the other.

How do you love God? Love your neighbor.

How do you show proof you love God? You love your neighbor.

When your neighbor is loved, by that action God is loved.

They are causal, you can’t love God without loving your neighbor. The ways in which we can love our neighbor are limitless. Here at Lightstreet, through our corporate ministries, we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, release captives, befriend the friendless, and work toward equity.

Personally, our lives also bears fruit of loving God and neighbor. We show it through our jobs and vocations, our hobbies and interests, our passions and how we invest our time and resources.

Our desire to love God, to encounter God is in our very nature, we want to see God’s face. We know we have been stamped with the Divine Image, each of us; and we need to actively seek the Divine Image in our neighbors because all humanity contains it. It is what connects us deeper than lineage, deeper than geography, and deeper than our preferences, it’s what makes us children of the God Most High. We need to be looking intently and intentionally in the faces of our neighbors so we can see the face of God, because it is there. This is why we can never turn our eyes away from suffering and injustice, because God is there calling us to love.

Hymn #347 Spirit Song

  1. O let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His love.

Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.

O let Him have the things that hold you, and His Spirit like a dove

will descend upon your life and make you whole.

Refrain: Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs. Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

  1. O come and sing this song with gladness as your hearts are filled with joy.

Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.

O give Him all your tears and sadness; give Him all your years of pain,

And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name. Refrain.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.